11 June 2007

A media milestone

Today sees the publication of the 50,000th edition of The Guardian , IMO one of the world's leading newspapers, and one which has adapted well to change, eg by moving from Manchester to London some decades ago. More recently it has developed a website which makes its invaluable and generally reliable information and alternative opinions accessible to a global audience more rapidly than its longstanding weekly digest The Guardian Weekly. In today's edition the paper gives itself a well justified pat on the back:

The liberal values the Guardian has represented since 1821 are the same values which the new technologies today make possible: plurality of voice; diversity of opinion; an internationally shared discourse; a voice for the hitherto voiceless; a challenge to authority; freedom of speech and information; fairness and tolerance; the possibility of enlightened argument without legal or state restraint. All these are now imaginable, if not yet universal. The liberal imperative to promote them has never been more vital.

But at the heart of what we do remains news: of trying to bear truthful witness to the world. For John Edward Taylor, what mattered was his account of Peterloo should get ahead of the "official" version. That should remain the first purpose of any news organisation.

The original prospectus promised that the Guardian would, on the behalf of "friends of freedom", keep a watchful eye on foreign politics. "For there perhaps never was a period, at which the affairs of other nations could awaken, in the minds of Englishmen, so deep an interest as at the present moment."

Fifty-thousand editions on, the same is true. We will do our best to carry on the traditions of the paper as heretofore. As Scott noted in his famous essay on journalism, "Achievement in such matters is hardly given to man. We can but try, ask pardon for shortcomings, and there leave the matter."

Congratulations to all concerned, and best wishes for your future.

No comments: